The Bihar government moved the Supreme Court on Friday challenging a Patna high court order granting bail to former parliamentarian Mohammad Shahabuddin, shortly after the top court agreed to hear a similar plea by a Siwan resident.
The former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP walked out of jail last week after being incarcerated for 11 years in connection with dozens of cases, including the murder of two brothers, whose father has challenged the bail to the political strongman known as the ‘Bahubali’ of Bihar.
The RJD is part of the Nitish Kumar-led alliance government which has faced flak from the opposition BJP and activists for the release of the controversial leader from Siwan.
“I do not know what the state government has done. We will see,” RJD chief Lalu Prasad said.
After his release, Shahabuddin had termed Nitish Kumar a “chief minister of circumstance”, triggering a political slugfest between RJD and JD(U).
In its appeal, the Bihar government told the apex court that the state was not heard before he was granted bail. No report was called for by the trial court as well, it pointed out.
Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan moved the petition filed by 69-year-old Chandrakeshwar Prasad before a bench headed by chief justice TS Thakur. Bhushan requested for an urgent hearing, which the bench acceded to.
Shahabuddin is accused of murdering Prasad’s three sons – two in 2004 and one in 2014. The RJD leader was convicted in the 2004 twin murder case. But the trial in the 2014 incident is yet to start and citing the delay the HC granted him bail.
Prasad said the HC did not take note of the fact that Shahabuddin is a “history sheeter” and “dreaded criminal” who has absolutely no regard for the law. It was a cryptic order and suffered from “total non-application of mind.”
The appeal said, the RJD leader has been booked in 58 criminal cases of which in at least 8 he has been convicted. He has been sentenced to life in two cases.
According to Prasad, a surprise raid was conducted at the Siwan jail after the death of a ‘Hindustan’ journalist in which the officials found 40 phones with fake SIM cards. They also learnt that many visitors included politicians met Shahabuddin inside the jail without permission.
The criminal-turned-politician was elected for four successive terms to the Lok Sabha from Siwan between 1996 and 2008 but was debarred from contesting polls in 2009 following his conviction in one of the many criminal cases.